SP Alex Wood of the Atlanta Braves
A semi-bold prediction of mine is that Alex Wood will be the best starter on the Braves in 2015 and he will finish as a top 20 SP. In 2014, Wood developed a third pitch in his knuckle curve. Living in Atlanta, I have seen quite a few pitchers on the Braves throw this pitch over the years from Billy Wagner to Craig Kimbrel. It seems to almost be a “team secret.”
Alex Wood just turned 24 years old and has an odd delivery that has kept hitters from figuring him out. His 11-11 record hides his great fantasy stats of a 2.78 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 170 K in 171.2 IP. Last year, Alex Wood had virtually no run support, which hurts his values in wins leagues, but that is somewhat random except for the fact that the Braves had a horrible offense. Then, they traded away three of their four best hitters, so Wood has more value in QS leagues where he is a must own.
RP Steve Cishek of the Miami Marlins
I regard Steve Cishek very highly because of the fact that he will provide help to your ratios while saving 30+ games. I have Cishek as a top 10 closer, which is probably higher than most, but I have almost no doubt he will exceed his ADP.
SP Jacob DeGrom of the New York Mets
The NL Rookie of the Year made it two straight years where a Mets’ pitcher had an incredible breakout and that is not even counting what Zack Wheeler is doing. Jacob DeGrom was dominant in all aspects of the game from his 25.5% K% to his 2.69 ERA. I guess you could argue there are slight concerns like his .297 BABIP and 23.2% line drive rate, but he will still be a great value as a top 25-30 starting pitcher.
SP Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs
While Jacob DeGrom was excellent and will still be a great price in 2015, Jake Arrieta will be an even better bargain. In 25 starts, Arrieta allowed 0, 1, or 2 runs in 21 of those starts. I have Arrieta ranked a little above DeGrom, but I think he will go after him in most drafts. While some people may think Jake Arrieta will regress, I am a believer that he will at least come close to last year’s numbers.
SP Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds
Homer Bailey illustrates the depth of the starting pitcher position. Based on my rankings that are still in progress, I have thirty pitchers that could be an SP1 or SP2. Homer Bailey falls outside of the top 30 SP, and I feel like he is still a trustworthy option. A very positive sign was that Bailey improved every month of the season even though his year was cut short by injury. Bailey had a 6.15 ERA in April, 4.26 ERA in May, 3.35 ERA in June, 2.67 ERA in July, and a .64 ERA in August. I expect a mid three ERA next season.